Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
After taking a 21-point lead less than two minutes into the second quarter, they sent their collective basketball brain out to catch a bite in the North End. What was left of the team started jacking up quick shots and failing to execute on either end of the floor.
“We got a little caught up in the flair of the game probably in the second quarter,” Stevens said. “And the end of the second quarter was bad. But after that for the next two quarters, we made timely plays.”
Some of the timeliest were made by Aron Baynes, who filled Horford’s 14.6-point average void with a career-high-tying 21 points in just 23 minutes. The Celtics came in with well-founded concern for the Lakers leading scorer, Brook Lopez, but Kareem Abdul Baynes outscored him by 11.
And the loose-once-he-leaves-the-court Aussie wasn’t just trying to grab some stats while the getting was good. Shaquille Baynes still played his normal gritty game, getting five of his eight rebounds on the offensive end and finding mates with three assists.
“Aron was great,” Stevens said. “(The Lakers) went small a lot with (Julius) Randle, and then they had a lineup there at the very end that was even smaller without all the bigs. And he did a good job rolling all night and sealing and finishing in and around the paint. He had a couple of put-backs and did a good job.”
Remember in July when the Celtics signed Aron Baynes? I do. I remember hearing many hardcore fans who were still crafting free-agent ranking lists out of the available leftovers, and they were beside themselves that the Celtics couldn’t nab Dwayne Dedmon instead (except for Red’s own Mike Dynon, who picked Baynes as his Most Surprising in our season preview series). Now, Baynes feels like an absolute revelation. We’ve all forgotten what it looks like to have a guy who is really willing to bang on both ends of the floor. After a few pre-season games I was quick to label him the first real enforcer the Celtics have had since Perk (Keyon Dooling was an enforcer in my eyes, he was also 6’3). Games like last night, though, show that while Baynes has some Perk-like qualities, his game is far more well-rounded. He can hit jumpers out to 18-feet, he’s a better roller to the basket than was Perk, not to mention a better free-throw shooter, too. Sure, he’ll probably have more 5 point, 4 rebound, 3 hard foul games than his offensive explosion last night, but it’s nice to know he has that in him.
At the time of the Baynes signing, I understood some of the dismay at not getting a guy like Dedmon, who to my eyes was more athletic, and better able to play meaningful minutes in the pace-and-space era. I clearly didn’t know Baynes’ game well enough. There will be nights where a team like the Warriors go uber-small and there’s no place for Baynes on the floor, but there’s surely a place for Baynes on this first-place Celtics team, a spot in the standings they might not occupy without him.
CSNNE — Stars, Studs & Duds
On page 2, we wait to hear news on Jayson Tatum
Coach Brad Stevens said Tatum will undergo further testing Thursday after complaining of soreness during the second quarter of the Celtics’ 107-96 triumph at TD Garden.
Stevens said Tatum was fitted with a walking boot after the game as a precaution.
“He had imaging here. He’s got a sore right ankle, and he’s going to have more imaging [Thursday], at which point they’ll let us know what they find in that,” Stevens said. “I don’t know anything else. I guess he had some — he must’ve felt it at some point, right there, right before he came out, he asked to be taken out. And then went back in the [locker room], and they ruled him out for the rest of the game.
Ohhhhh boy. There a part of me that wishes the ankle injury came from Tatum visibly rolling it, as opposed to it being something that seems more residual. The biggest fear would be some type of stress related injury. A stress reaction in Tatum’s foot or ankle is a multi-week, even multi-month injury. Here’s hoping there was some type of ankle roll that we didn’t see last night that caused Tatum to head to the bench.
Get Jabari Bird on the next Downeaster.
Herald — Injuries continue to add up
And finally, let’s watch Kyrie highlights, shall we?
It’s almost beyond comprehension to me that the way he trolls dudes off the street as Uncle Drew can translate to the parquet where there are other world-class, professional basketball players.
The rest of the links: